Irene was born in Coronado to Dr. and Mrs. Scott E. Watson, a prominent dentist in San Diego in the early 1900's. They lived in a large Victorian house on Orange Avenue, built by the same contractor who built the Hotel del Coronado. Irene studied ballet and actually performed at the Hotel as a young girl. Her family also had a summer cabin by Lake Cuyamaca where she began riding horses at the age of six. She told us stories of how the Indians would take their horses in the winter and sell them back in the spring. The horses were well taken care of, so it worked out well for both parties.
She became an accomplished horsewoman by her early teens and played polo at the Coronado Polo Club. She attended Coronado High School and San Diego State College where she majored in English and Drama graduating in 1935. She was a member of Phi Kappa Gamma sorority and the Skull and Dagger, a drama honors society. She also introduced polo to San Diego State where she played on the women's team.
Through polo, she met a young Navy doctor, Eugene R. Hering Jr., in 1932. They were married in 1935. Following Dr. Hering's naval career, which included postings in China and the Philippines, they settled in Lakeside in 1955 where he established his medical practice and built the Lakeside Polo Field. They hosted several polo tournaments during the late 50's and early 60's, which raised money for the purchase of equipment for Grossmont Hospital. She was a member of the Grossmont Hospital Auxiliary.
In 1977 she married Capt. Joseph B. Berkley, another Navy man. They lived in Rancho Bernardo where she had been an early president of the Rancho Bernardo Welcome Club, a member of the Pomerado Hospital Auxiliary and together they were very active in the San Diego Opera Guild. They were a happy couple; they traveled extensively and hosted many parties for the Opera Guild and Grampa Joe's Naval Academy class reunions. Together they continued to support the Lakeside Polo Club and the Hering Ranch.
Those who had the good fortune to know her will miss her bright smile, her warm and generous personality and her always-positive spirit. She was a loving and always supportive mother. She is survived by her sons Eugene R. (Kip) Hering III and Steven W. Hering, her daughter Sharon Dawn, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She call herself "the Lucky Grandmother". A memorial service for family and friends will be held at the Trinity Episcopal Church of Escondido, 845 Chestnut Street, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 16. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Elizabeth Hospice is suggested.